Male synchronized swimming team not welcome at Olympics
One team only wants the chance to compete in a sport where men are not yet welcome.
Equality has been a word used to describe the 2012 Olympics. Women’s boxing was added to the London games, making this the first-ever Olympics where there will be no sports that do not include an event for women (as well as the same milestone being achieved in the 2014 Winter Olympics).
But no one ever thought to ask if this was also the case for men. The London Olympics include two sports where men are not allowed: rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming.
In 1952, synchronized swimming was “first demonstrated” at the Olympics, but it was added as an official sport in 1984, according to ABC News. However, even then men were not allowed.
“The Out To Swim Angels are Britain's only male synchronized swimming team,” said ABC News. “Last month they wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee and FINA, swimming's governing body, arguing that men deserve to compete in synchronized swimming as well.”
This is not the first time the International Olympic Committee has faced this problem. In 2008, Californian synchronized swimmer Kenyon Smith asked to be allowed to compete in Beijing. In 2004, Bill May, who regularly competed with women’s teams, was not allowed to compete in Athens, according to ABC News. Both were denied their requests.
"There's still this same of sort old mindset. Oh well it's pretty, it's for girls," said Angels team member Ronan Daly. "But no, we want to challenge that and say boys can do this as well."
The British team is asking to be considered for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
"I think it's incredibly ironic that the Olympics are all about equality, yet we don't have a chance to compete, and other mens' teams don't have a chance to participate," said team captain Stephen Adshead to ABC News.
The team is only three-years-old, but won gold at the recent Eurogames, adding to the argument that they should be able to compete.
The Out to Swim Angels have vowed not to give up, so that they can give a voice to allowing men in the synchronized swimming category in the future.